Digiday+ Research: Independent agencies bear the cost of data collection

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This research is based on unique data collected from our proprietary audience of publisher, agency, brand and tech insiders. It’s available to Digiday+ members. More from the series →

Agencies normally aren’t shy about passing work costs on to their clients. Yet as more agencies work to gather and store data about internet users, a significant percentage of independent agencies are bearing that cost on their own, according to new Digiday+ research. 

In November, Digiday polled several dozen agency and brand professionals on a number of topics, including how they are preparing for returns to the office and what kinds of vaccination policies their employers have. Forty independent agency professionals with knowledge of how their organizations approach data collection answered questions about that practice. 

While a significant chunk of independent agencies do not offer this kind of service to clients, among those that do, close to half said they bear the costs themselves, rather than passing it on to clients. 

Anecdotally, respondents who said they worked at holding company agencies were much less likely to pass the costs on, but an insufficient number of holding company agency respondents weighed in on the topic.

While agencies have been collecting data about internet users for years, the relationship to that data — and to the third party brokers that provide it — has changed considerably since Google said it would depreciate support for third-party cookies in its Chrome browser. 

The data is typically one service among many agencies provided to clients. Two thirds of the independent agency respondents indicated their agencies offered some combination of creative, media and performance marketing services to their clients. 


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